Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Len Mullenger:

POMP AND PIPES! Powerful Music for Organ, Winds, Brass and Percussion   Paul Riedo (organ) Dallas Wind Symphony/Frederick Fennell REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-58CD [68.02]

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 SIGFRIED KARG-ELERT Praise the Lord with Drums and Cymbals

ALFRED REED Allelujah! Laudamus Te


PERCY GRAINGER The Power of Rome and the Christian Heart


RON NELSON Pebble Beach Sojourn (premiere recording)

CHARLES WIDOR Lord, Save Thy People

JAROMIR WEINBERGER Polka and Fugue from Schwanda the Bagpiper

What immediately strikes you about this disc is that it seems to reach out to those who still relish putting their hi-fi through its paces. I always wondered about that market in the 1990s and even in the 1980s. The image of the comfortably off man-about-town with the expensive satin-finish hi-fi is rather 1970s and the cliché has surely moved on to the man with the top of the range PC.

Whether or not the intention was what it appears to be the choice of repertoire is totally refreshing. There is not a hint of the routine.

Karg-Elert's piece is a cheery piece of pastiche Baroquery ending with a rasping blast. The Reed is struck me as a perfunctory piece. The Gigout is replete with grand over-inflated flourishes - a few links with Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3. Wills' The Vikings is crashingly Gothic conveying some feeling of the dread aroused by the Nordic sea-rovers. The Grainger is a very personal vision including some fascinating organ harmonies. Dupré's work was written for Verdun in 1937 and is a stark enough vision with little of comfort. The Widor dates from 1918 and is a stark edifice for the Great War. The two French war pieces are separated Ron Nelson's sparky little Pebble Beach. The Weinberger is grippingly joyous. Whenever I hear this piece I want to hear more by this composer who took up residence in the USA but seems never otherwise to have registered as a success apart from in connection Schwanda. Will someone treat us to his Lincoln Symphony, I wonder.

This is a collection of impact and splendour and deserves attention way beyond the audiophiles who might be its first port-of-call.


Rob Barnett


Rob Barnett

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